The average income of the top 1 percent of Kentuckians is 16.6 times greater the average income of everyone else in the state according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. The report determined the average income of the top 1 percent earners in Kentucky is $619,585 compared to an average income of $37,371 for the “bottom” 99 percent using IRS tax return data from 2013.
When looking at counties, the ratio of top income earners to the rest varies from 5.9 in Robertson county to 21.9 in Kenton county. Generally speaking, the greatest income inequality is in the so-called “golden triangle” bounded by the Northern Kentucky, Lexington, and Louisville areas that contain neighborhoods of both great wealth and high poverty. However, Pike County in eastern Kentucky and McCracken County in western Kentucky also were among the 10 counties with the highest income inequality.
Oldham County had the highest incomes for both the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and was still among counties with the most income inequality (24th). In contrast, Robertson County had the lowest average income for the top 1 percent of earners and also had the lowest income inequality.
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The report also details the income inequality in major metropolitan areas, including 25 contained all or in part in Kentucky. These areas ranged from 1 percent earners making 9.5 times more than the rest in Frankfort to 18.6 times more in Paducah.